Congregational Conversation at UU Church

This morning, I co-led the worship service at the local UU church I attend, along with UU mates Chuck and Mike. Not surprisingly, for this first service of the New Year, the theme was “Learning from the Past Year and Creating the Year Ahead.” As part of the service, I read a poem by Dag Hammarskjold called “Unknown Land”

I am being driven forward
Into an unknown land.
The pass grows steeper
The air colder and sharper
A wind from my unknown goals
Stirs the strings of expectation.

Still the question
Shall I ever get there?
There where life resounds.
A clear pure note in the silence.

I then facilitated a “reflective conversation” among the congregants that focused on joys, challenges and learnings of the past year, and what people want to create this year, including what specifically they need in order to create it, especially in terms of support from others. And how do you envision your life to be one year from now – what’s different, what is the same? Lots of reflect on, and the sharings were very rich !
Toward the end of the service, we sang a very lovely hymn “Ring Out, Wild Bells”, based on a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.